x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Double-ton Rohit runs riot as India claims ODI series over Australia

Shane Watson injury mars Australia's chase of daunting target

BANGALORE // Rohit Sharma saved his best for last as he smashed the Australian bowlers all around the MA Chinnaswamy Stadium on his way to a double hundred in the final one-day international on Saturday.

His 209 from 158 balls ensured India took the deciding match to win the seven-game series 3-2.

In doing so, Rohit became the third batsman to score a double hundred in the format as India won by 57 runs after posting a daunting target of 384. India were in a spot of bother for a while when James Faulkner scored the fastest one-day hundred for an Australian, in 57 balls.

Coming in at No 7, his 116 runs from 73 balls and a 115-run partnership with Clint McKay for the ninth wicket kept India on tenterhooks after Glenn Maxwell (60) and Shane Watson (49) also chimed in with a barrage of sixes.

Rohit hit 16 sixes out of the 38 for the night, also an ODI world record, surpassing Watson’s 15.

“It is a small ground, but yes, I am happy to contribute,” said Rohit, who finished as the highest scorer in the series with 491 runs. “Credit goes to all. We concentrated on small partnerships in this series and every time we did that we made them count, so it was a good series for us.”

Worryingly for Australia, Watson limped off the field during India’s innings with a pulled hamstring. He is now a doubt for the first Ashes Test against England at Brisbane on November 21.

Watson came in to bat at No 8 and came close to matching Maxwell’s effort as the joint-second-fastest to hit a fifty in 18 balls.

Earlier, Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan (60), who have blossomed into a hit combination for India, put on another century stand of 112, their sixth in 19 innings together as an opening pair.

Virat Kohli came and went for naught after being run out in a mix-up with Rohit. Kohli’s exit, and the quick wickets of Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, made the crowd restless.

To make matters worse, Rohit and captain MS Dhoni scored only 22 runs in the batting powerplay with field restrictions in force.

However, that was the calm before the storm as Rohit launched an onslaught that produced 116 runs in the final five overs. Rohit took 114 balls for his first hundred, and then only 44 balls for his remaining 109 runs.

“I am proud of the way my boys batted,” Australia captain George Bailey said. “Credit to the Indians for doing well with the bat. It has been a good series and I am happy to have played a part.”